Dams are currently at 58.5% of their capacity, much lower than last year, and will continue to empty until October-November when it usually starts raining in Cyprus, according to officials.
Marios Hadjikosti, Senior Technical Engineer at the Water Development Department (WDD), told CNA there is enough water in the dams for firefighting purposes.
According to Hadjikosti, dam capacity after the end of May decreases until October-November, when rains usually start.
Because water inflow “was not satisfactory” last year, capacity is lower than in 2022, when it was at 79.6%.
Compared to August 1, 2021, capacity is slightly lower but at the same levels.
Asked whether firefighting aircraft can find water in the dams when operating to put out fires, Hadjikosti said that the department aims to have water in all the dams for fire safety.
Hadjikosti said the volume of water used by aircraft for firefighting purposes was “negligible” compared to how much evaporates from the dams, especially in the summer.
He said that firefighting helicopters and planes take about 4-6 cubic meters of water at a time, while currently, about 15,000-20,000 cubic meters of water evaporate daily from the Kouris Dam, Cyprus’ largest water reservoir.
“Aircraft can refill their buckets 20-30 times from a dam every time there is a fire, which is around 100-200 cubic meters of water.”
Hadjikosti said the WDD was constantly receiving requests from farmers for more water, noting that the situation is difficult, and if there is no rain next year, the department will give them much less water than it gave this year.
He noted that quantities of water provided this year for domestic purposes and irrigation were approved by the Cabinet.
“The WDD cannot do anything different despite farmers’ requests due to the heatwave.”
He said that the WDD’s role is to preserve the water according to what they have requested and what has been approved by the government so it is available next year.
“There are already problems with water supply in some areas due to the heatwave.”
Hadjikosti called on the public to save water, arguing this should be done year-round and not only occasionally.